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Robin Robinson - Citizen Columnist

Benefits of planting Jatropha trees are plenty

Sturdy jatropha curcas trees grow easily in Key West’s hot and well drained soil. They are an ornamental, but foul-smelling, small tree with bright red flowers and an inch-wide, pumpkin-shaped fruit. The rest of the world knows them for other attributes. Science Daily reported in its February 2011 issue its[…]

Virtues of a good camera, well, phone

Retired professor of photography Lynne Bently Kemp recently extolled the virtues of the cameras found in iPhones. “I didn’t get an expensive phone,” she remarked. “I got a fairly inexpensive camera.” She proceed to show the Garden Club members slide after slide of mind-boggling photographs taken with her new iPhone[…]

Find and pick native fruit for the birds

My 4-year-old grandson scorns the kiddie menu when taken out to eat and instead orders a full meal of mussels in garlic sauce. He has eaten sushi since he was able to handle finger food. He eats what his L.A. parents feed him. When I took my older children to[…]

Listen to the mockingbird

An artist I know said that she fell in love with her musician husband because he taught her how to listen to ambient sounds and rhythms. It was how he wrote music. That is an excellent reason to fall in love as paying attention to listening is a lifelong ever-changing[…]

Plants help maintain the air we breathe

Tourists say “there is something alluring about Key West,” without realizing that “something” is literally the air that they breathe. Rosemary can improve brain function. Rubbing the leaves between your fingers produces scent molecules and oils that pass into the bloodstream and go directly to the brain. It helps in[…]

With one change comes myriad others

Our Pilgrims first described the forests of North America as fearsome. And fearsome they were.They were overgrown with wild abandon. Nature abhors order and symmetry,. Every man made path is soon grown over with bushes and weeds.. Danger lurks behind the thick tree trunks. Nathaniel Hawthorne evoked terror creating the[…]

An afternoon adventure for secret treasures

When I was young I read a book called “The Secret Garden”that impressed my nubile mind with its possibilities. In Key West, a tourist town that is explored over and over by hordes of tourists I still find secret spots that have eluded the visitors. There are locals who come[…]

Ways to make magic on the Duval Mall

The August issue of National Geographic chronicles a partnership of volunteers and climate scientists to create urban heat maps, or hot spots. Marathon measures its ambient temperature at the airport, and is surrounded by Tarmac, buildings and highway; it is significantly higher due to the placement of the thermometers, says[…]